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Thursday, June 13, 2024

For The People: Most Common Lawsuits Filed Against Chicago Nonprofits

Chicago is home to a vibrant and diverse array of non-profits that are dedicated to serving the community and improving the lives of its citizens. These non-profits are dedicated to causes ranging from providing basic needs such as food, shelter, and healthcare to advocating for social justice, the environment, and education. They work closely with local organizations, businesses, and individuals to create meaningful and lasting change within the city. Whether it’s providing resources to those in need, advocating for policy changes, or helping to raise awareness about important issues, Chicago’s non-profits are committed to making a difference and have a significant impact on the city.

With its many dealings with large demographics of people, non-profits in the city run the risk of getting tangled up in a lawsuit for various reasons. Let’s take a look at a few.

Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination is the illegal termination of an employee in violation of state or federal labor laws, or in violation of an employment contract. When an employee is wrongfully terminated, they may be entitled to damages, such as lost wages, lost benefits, and emotional distress. In some cases, they may also be entitled to punitive damages, which are designed to punish the employer for wrongdoing and deter them from engaging in similar conduct in the future. Additionally, the employee may be entitled to attorney fees and costs associated with bringing the lawsuit.

Premises Liability

Premises liability is a legal concept that holds a property owner responsible for injuries caused by unsafe or hazardous conditions on the property. This includes injuries caused by hazardous conditions such as slip and fall accidents, inadequate security, inadequate maintenance, and inadequate lighting. Non-profits can be held liable for injuries caused by these hazardous conditions if they failed to use reasonable care in maintaining the premises.

When a non-profit is found liable for an injury caused by a hazardous condition, the injured party may be entitled to money damages, including compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you’re injured while on the property of one of the city’s non-profit organizations, be sure to reach out to a Chicago premises liability attorney to figure out what your options are.


Harassment in the workplace is a form of discrimination that is prohibited under state and federal law. This includes unwelcome conduct based on a person’s race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, or other protected status. Types of workplace harassment can include verbal or physical abuse, derogatory comments or jokes, unwelcome sexual advances, and offensive or intimidating behavior. In some cases, a single instance of harassment may be enough to give rise to a lawsuit. In other cases, a pattern of harassment over time may be necessary.

Wage Disputes

Employees filing wage disputes against their non-profit employers can be a common occurrence. Wage disputes can arise when an employee believes that their non-profit employer has violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or state labor laws by not paying them the wages or benefits they are due. Wage disputes can arise over a variety of issues, including unpaid overtime, misclassification of employees, tipped wages, meal and rest breaks, and minimum wage violations.

Employees may be entitled to money damages, including back wages, front pay, and liquidated damages. In addition, the employee may be entitled to attorney fees and costs associated with bringing the lawsuit. Employees may also be able to recover punitive damages if the employer’s conduct was particularly egregious. It is important for non-profit employers to ensure that they are in compliance with all applicable labor laws to avoid potential legal disputes.


Discrimination claims are another common lawsuit brought against nonprofits in Chicago. Discrimination claims may be brought by an employee who feels that her employer discriminates against her based on her race, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability or another protected characteristic. These claims are often brought by the employee’s union if the union believes that the employer has discriminated against its members.

Contract Disputes

A contract dispute occurs when two parties have a disagreement with the terms of a contract, resulting in one party not fulfilling its obligations under the contract. Nonprofits may be involved in contract disputes with vendors, suppliers, donors, or other third parties. When a contract dispute arises, the parties involved may need to take legal action in order to resolve the dispute.

Nonprofits may be sued for breach of contract, failure to perform, and other contract-related claims. If a nonprofit is found to have breached its obligations under a contract, the other party may be entitled to monetary damages, including compensation for lost profits, attorney fees, and costs associated with bringing the lawsuit. It is important for nonprofits to ensure that all of their contracts are properly drafted and that they are in compliance with all applicable laws in order to avoid potential legal disputes.

Nonprofits in Chicago face a number of potentially costly lawsuits. As such, they must take steps to prevent the violation of people’s rights as well as take full responsibility for actions that negatively affect employees, partners, and patrons.

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